In my previous blog article I wrote about why I don't think you should make new year resolutions and what I think you should do instead. Today's article is kind of a follow-up on that, and today I want to focus on the resolutions many people make when it comes to improving their health, such as to lose weight, stop smoking or join the neighborhood health club.
While it is common to set high goals, experts say that setting smaller goals could do more for our health. James O. Hill, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, says (and I quote):
"Small steps are achievable and are easier to fit into
your daily routine. They are less overwhelming than
a big, sudden change."
Here are 10 small steps I suggest that you try:
Step # 1: Keep an eye on your weight
Picture by SHVETS Production on Pexels
I don't mean that you should get obsessive about what you weigh - quite the contrary, actually, because the scale might lie or not give the full picture. It's really your measures that are most important. But still: Keep an eye on your weight and work on making sure you are not gaining extra pounds / kilos. Even if you gain just a pound or two every year, the extra weight adds up quickly. That being said: When you're trying to lose weight and you might have taken up exercise and you're starting to build muscles, be aware that your muscles add weight, too, so that's why I'm saying the scales might lie.
Step # 2: Walk more / add more steps
Take more small steps. Use a pedometer to count your daily steps; then add 2,000, the equivalent of one extra mile. Keep adding steps, 1,000 to 2,000 each month or so, until you take 10,000 steps on most days.
Step #3: Eat breakfast.
Picture by life of pix on Pexels
Breakfast eaters tend to weigh less and have better diets overall.
For a filling and nutrition-packed breakfast, eat whole grains, for example oatmeal, with fresh fruit slices and low-fat or fat-free milk. A little bit of yoghurt is also a good option, preferably fat- and sugar free ones like Greek yoghurt.
Step # 4: Go nuts!
Picture by David Disponett on Pexels
Nuts are good for you. They are a great source of necessary nutrients such as protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Some nuts you could eat are walnuts, hazelnuts, pecan, pistachios, almonds and peanuts, A handfull a day, or as little as 7 walnuts, are enough. Add some berries or fruit, and you have a delicious and easy snack meal.
Step # 5. Have at least one salad per day
Have at least one green salad every day. Eating a salad (with low-fat or fat-free dressing) is filling and may help you eat less during the meal. It also counts toward your five daily cups of vegetables and fruits.
Step # 6: Cut down on the fat
Picture by bulut tuncay on Pexels
Fat has a lot of calories, and calories count. Purchase lean meats, eat poultry without the skin, switch to lower-fat cheeses, use a nonstick pan with only a little bit of oil or butter.
Step # 7: Consider calcium
by including two or three daily servings of low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt. Dairy calcium is good for your bones and may also help you lose weight.
Step # 8: Downsize
The smaller the plate or bowl, the less you will eat. This can keep you from over-eating.
Step # 9: Keep track of your eating.
Picture by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels
Write down what you eat over the next couple of days and look for problem spots. Often, just writing things down can help you eat less.
The last step is something to consider only if you are over-weight - otherwise you can skip this:
Step #10: Lose just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight.
The health benefits are huge: lower blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides.
Overall - and this could be an additional important step:
Move your body more!
A great way to make sure you do that, is to try my FREE 12 Days of More Activity Challenge and also get my FREE downloadable Year of Activity Calendar for 2022.
I hope you found this article useful.
If losing weight is something you want to do, but you don't really know how to go about it in a healthy way, I have written an article about just that: How You Can Lose Weight The Healthy Way
I have also written other articles about health and nutrition, and a good follow-up on this article that you've read here, is the one that I've called How To Put Together A Meal Plan And Eat Your Stress Away, - and if you want to learn how to get lean and strong like a French woman without even breaking a sweat, you can read more about that here.
I would be happy if you would follow my blog, and also share this article with someone you think might find it useful.
See you soon - or as the French say it:
This is actually a re-post of an article I wrote on this subject last year, with a few updates.
Instead of writing it all again, follow this link to read it in full. Happy New Year! May this be your best year yet!
Picture by Lisa from Pexels.
What you do on Sunday can determine the week ahead of you. If you spend your Sunday prepping for the following week, you can set yourself up for success. And it doesn’t need to take more than an hour.
Over the past few years, I have realised that the way I spend my Sunday greatly affects the rest of my week.
“Spend your Sunday wisely, and you’ll set yourself up for success in the upcoming week”.
But what does that mean, and isn’t Sundays for relaxing?
Yes, Sundays are for relaxing. But I find that if I spend all of Sunday relaxing, I feel unprepared for the week when I wake up on Monday.
And so, spending just one, maybe two hours out of the whole day, in order to prepare for the upcoming week is what helps me.
What to do, the breakdown
What you need to do to feel prepared for the week may differ from person to person. But I like to break it down in categories: making the house feel fresh and ready, going through papers and digital clutter, making a game plan, and making myself feel fresh and ready.
Making the house feel fresh and ready
Picture by SHEVTS from Pexels.
When preparing for the upcoming week, I like to start with the house. This is usually what is most time consuming and labour intensive, so I like getting it out of the way.
What I do depends on a few factors, but I always make sure to take the rubbish out and clean the kitchen. Which means, I’ll start by emptying and reloading the dishwasher and wash any dishes that needs washing by hand.
I then continue on to scrubbing the sink and wiping down the counters.
The rest depends on what needs doing. I might tidy up things that are out of order or fold and put away clean laundry. Because we all know laundry takes 4-5 days, right? 1 day to wash and dry and then 3-4 business days to get folded and put away, haha!
Picture by Sarah Chai from Pexels.
By doing these little things, the house feels fresh and ready for the week.
Going through my papers and digital clutter
Picture by Anete Lusina from Pexels. Picture by Monstera from Pexels.
Papers and digital clutter have a tendency of sneaking up on us. That’s why I like to spend a little time just going through them to see what I need to do with them.
Papers are easy enough, you know: checking my notes, checking if there is a bill that needs paying, is there any junk mail that I haven’t thrown out yet?
Cleaning up digital clutter may take a little bit longer, depending on how much there is, but I strongly recommend you take 10-15 minutes to go through it.
I like to go through the screenshots on my phone to note down what’s important and delete what’s not.
I also sort and delete e-mails and unsubscribe from newsletters. And I’m quite hard on newsletters, I unsubscribe from both the ones I don’t want, but also the ones I signed up for because I wanted them, but never end up reading.
Making a game plan
Picture by Peachy Boss from Pexels.
After cleaning, tidying, and going through my papers, I sit down to make a game plan for the upcoming week. And when I do, I ask myself these questions:
- What are the chores I need to get done?
- Do I have any appointments I need to remember?
- What will I be making for dinner?
- Is there any particular workout I want to get done?
I plan these things out, because it takes the decision making out of the day-to-day. When I have written down what needs doing, I can spend my energy on different things.
Usually, I also try to not have any more than 3 items on my day-to-day to-do lists. Any more than that, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
I also prioritize the list, so I have one important task every day. The rest are “nice to do” if I have the time. If not, they can be done some other day.
Making myself feel fresh and ready
Picture by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels.
As I touched upon earlier, Sundays are for resting. Which is an important part of feeling fresh and ready for the upcoming week.
It depends a bit on my mood, but on Sundays, I actually prefer having a quiet morning and mid-day, before doing the prep-tasks in the afternoon.
Picture by cottonbro from Pexels.
Usually I prefer doing tasks and chores before relaxing, but there is something special about a quiet Sunday morning with a nice cup of tea or coffee.
After completing my prep-tasks in the afternoon, I like having a shower or a bath to relax, and spend the evening reading or watching a movie or a tv-show.
It may seem daunting, but do it anyways
Doing all of this may seem daunting, but it really doesn’t take as long as you think it will. I usually spend less than an hour on tidying, cleaning, sorting papers and planning.
And when everything is done, I get to relax more.
Spending ONE hour on Sunday preparing for the upcoming week, just makes everything run more smoothly.
I hope this article was of value to you! If so, I hope you'll follow my blog and also share the article with someone else who may be interested.
Are you especially stressed out right now because of the upcoming Christmas season? Check out my Christmas planners! They can make it easier for you to plan 1) Advent Calendar Gifts (maybe a bit late, but there's still time!), 2) What you are going to clean, 3) What you are going to bake, and 4) What you are going to give as Christmas presents this year. The planners are totally FREE! Just download and print them from this link, and you're good to go! They're my present for you!
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For the last decade or two I've been struggling with overweight. It's been frustrating, and even depressing at times, because I've felt that the person looking back at me in the mirror has been kind of a stranger. It's not been me. Not the real me. Because I've always been lean and strong and fit, and that just hasn't been the case for the last 10-20 years. My overweight hasn't been extreme, but it's definitly not been healty.
Sometimes I've wondered "What the heck happened!?" - and I've tried everything to get back in shape, - but I actually do know what happened: It's been health issues that have prevented me from being active the way I used to, and stress and worries around that have just added to the equation. I've been struggling with fatigue, and also dizziness, and this has made it hard for me to exercise the way I used to. I've also had a few periods where I've been through some difficult times emotionally concerning other areas of my life, and this has also added to the stress, - and it's actually been scientifically proved that stress has a tendency to add to the weight gain, especially around the waist.
I haven't really been obese, but I'm not so tall (I'm 163 cm), so going from being a person who never weighed over 60 kilos up until the age of 40, to then gaining almost 20 kilos extra over a very short time, - was definitly not good for me. I didn't really notice it at first, but going from always having been an active person to suddenly - almost over-night - not being able to do much exercise due to (among other things) fatigue and dizziness (caused by a blow to the head which resulted in Post Concussion Syndrome) - it soon got me into a state of overweight and a negative development healthwise. My BMI (Body Mass Index) has been around 28 (the BMI of obesity is around 30), so I've not been happy with the situation. (You can read more about BMI and obesity on WHO's website.)
I don't want to get too scientific in this article, because my main focus is going to be on what you can actually DO to lose weight in a healthy way, and which is the way I myself am slowly but steadily getting back into shape now. Let's just look at a few facts first to get this topic into perspective and why I find it so important to address it:
According to WHO (World Health Organization, worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975. Let's look at some key facts published on WHO's official website - and I quote:
Until now, obesity continues to be a serious problem and is predicted to reach epidemic levels within a short period of time.
And here's the thing, and the reason why I decided to write an article on this, for you and me both:
One way to prevent this scenario is to make people aware of the risks of being overweight or obese.
So education on this topic is very important, and I've decided to get as much knowledge about it as possible, because I want to help myself and other people to heal from overweight and obesity and get our health - and our lives! - back.
Not to scare you, but here are some diseases that you are putting yourself in risk of if you are carrying a lot of extra pounds:
1. heart disease
Losing weight helps to prevent and control these diseases.
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels
Let me just make it clear right away:
The quick weight loss methods which have spread like fire these days do not provide lasting results. More often than not, dieting methods which involve dietary drinks, foods and supplements or pills do not work. If they do, the results are just temporary. It is better to rely on a healthy weight loss option which will provide lifetime results. You have to set realistic goals and not expect to lose a lot of pounds in a short span of time.
Here are some tips on how you can lose those unwanted pounds the healthy way:
1. Do not starve yourself.
Photo by Inna Lykasevuch from Pexels
The key to a healthier way of losing weight is: Do not diet. You may seem happy and feel that you are losing those unwanted flabs on your belly and thighs by skipping meals. But remember that this would not last long. Your body cannot tolerate having insufficient food to fuel the energy that you use up everyday.
If you get used to skipping one or two meals a day, your stored calories will be used up instead of the energy that should have been provided by your meals. So if you
just eat one huge sandwich in one day, it will end up straight to your problem area (i.e. thighs, buttocks, hips).
2. Start your day right.
Photo by Life Of Pix from Pexels
Mothers always say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Have a healthy meal in the morning to jump-start your metabolism.
Your food intake after you wake up will be used to burn fat all day long.
3. Eat small, healthy meals frequently.
Five small-serving snacks per day is better than three hearty meals. Eating more frequently, and in small servings, can prevent overeating. This will also increase your metabolism and make calories burn faster.
4. Decide on how much weight you want to lose.
Keep your goals realistic. In the long run, it is virtually impossible for you to lose 40 pounds in 2 weeks. Have a mindset that you want to eat healthy to stay healthy for the rest of your life. Once you have decided on a weight loss plan or program, stick to it and make sure that you follow your own set of dieting rules.
5. Drink lots of water.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.
Your body needs sufficient water to burn fat and keep your cells hydrated and healthy.
6. Avoid too much sugar.
Plan your meals around lots of fruits and vegetables, some bread, rice or pasta for that carbo fix that you need, plus lean meat and protein-rich foods.
Sweets, sodas and pastries should be once-in-a-while indulgences only.
7. Watch your fat intake.
Photo by ready made from Pexels
Fat is not the culprit to being overweight. You need this to keep your weight at the proper level.
There is such a thing as healthy fats. Olive, peanuts and canola oil have them. Tuna, salmon and mackerel have omega-3 fats which is good for the heart.
Leave your car if you are only going a few blocks from home, take the stairs instead of the elevator, jog, cycle or skate. Use these activities and other home chores if you are too lazy to go to the gym and take exercise classes. Make sure that you do this regularly and you will not even notice that you are already shedding pounds with these mundane activities. It does not matter how much weight you plan or need to lose. What is important is
that you set realistic goals for yourself.
Go slow. If you have already lost 5 or 6 pounds, give yourself a break then try to lose the next 5 pounds.
Eat healthy, drink lots of water, have enough sleep and exercise. This will give you a higher chance of losing weight and improving your health, which would result in a new, healthier you.
I also suggest that you take advantage of my other FREE resource on this matter, which is my brand new Year of Activity Calendar 2022. Each month has a beautiful and inspiring picture of people doing some kind of activity and tips on what you could try that month. It's downloadable and printable and completely FREE! Get it now!
I hope you have found this article to be of value to you. If so, please feel free to share it with others and also follow my blog.
Other articles you might like: 12 Ways You Can Get Chic And Fit Like A French Woman Without Even Breaking A Sweat, 8 Reasons Why The French Don't Diet, And Why You Don't Have To Either, and How To Put Togehter A Meal Plan And Eat Your Stress Away
It’s easy to let one bad day ruin the rest of our week. But you know what? We get to start fresh EACH and EVERY day! If you reset your week instead of letting your bad days bring you down, you will see such a difference in your life over time. And this is how to do it.
I know that in the past, if I didn’t meet my goals of a certain week, I would think “I’ll start again on Monday”. But with that mindset, we let one bad day, maybe even just one bad HOUR, dictate the rest of our week.
And we all know that Monday rolls around, and then suddenly it’s “I’ll start next Monday”. But by letting each and every day be a fresh start we can change our lives and see so much more progress on the projects we’re working on.
Why you need a reset
It’s so easy getting stuck in that mindset of not doing enough, not managing or just failing. Because I think a lot of us spiral.
So, when we don’t achieve our first task of the day, it’s easy to drop the ball on the next task too, and the next one, and next one. You see where I’m going with this, right?
Most of us may let a bad morning affect the rest of our day. Because when we fail to do something, we feel it’s useless to continue with the rest of the tasks too.
Don’t let one bad moment or hour ruin the rest of your day and week.
What to do when you’re having a bad day
If you feel like you’re having a bad day and you’re not achieving your goals, take a time-out.
OK, so maybe you didn’t finish that project for work, or you didn’t work out this morning. Whatever it is that you feel you didn’t get done, take a small time-out.
Tell yourself this “I have not ruined my progress just because I didn’t reach my goal today”. Have a cup of tea, go for a short walk. Do something that gets you out of your own head.
By taking a step back and removing ourselves from the situation we can look at it with fresh eyes.
Why resets are helpful
When you complete a mid-week reset, rather than waiting to start again on Monday, you help yourself realise that it’s not all black and white. It’s not all-or-nothing.
“One small detour isn’t going to ruin everything you’ve been working on.”
In the long run, this way of thinking will help you achieve more of the things you want to achieve.
Why the all-or-nothing mindset is unproductive
Let’s use changing your diet as an example (because I think that’s something many of us can relate to):
So, Monday morning rolls around, and you have a goal of what to eat in order to change your diet and make it healthier.
And you may do well for three days, but because you maybe made your new diet plan too restrictive, you then crack. You eat something that’s not in your “plan”. And with an all-or-nothing mindset this will, more often than not, lead to you eating more of those things that are “not in your plan”, and abandon the new way of eating.
Then you think “Oh shit, I’ve ruined it. It’s no point, I’ll start again on Monday”. Maybe you even feel guilty for having abandoned your new eating plan so soon.
This is why we need to reset.
Anyone working with bettering people’s health, will tell you that what matters is what you do 80 % of the time.
So instead of having an all-or-nothing mindset, allow yourself to reset, and just try to make small changes at a time.
How to reset
Do the laundry...
So far I’ve told you why you may need a reset, and why they are helpful. But how do you actually do it? How do you reset when you’re having a bad day?
When I need to reset my week, I start by completing a small task. Usually, I pick something off my to-do list that I haven’t gotten around to doing yet.
My first task of any reset may be running a load of laundry, watering my plants, or planning out dinners for the rest of the week. You know, just something small to get you started.
It’s all about creating momentum. When you are successful at completing one task, it will motivate and inspire you to keep going.
It’s kind of like when people recommend for you to start your day by making your bed. By doing so, you start your day with a small achievement.
Give yourself a fresh start
Make a coffee or tea and take it with you outside... (picture by Keira Burton from Pexels)
I think a mid-week (or even a mid-day) reset is helpful because they give us a fresh start.
And fresh starts mean more motivation and higher spirits.
Just remember that my reset may differ from your reset. Maybe you want to do something completely different from what I’m doing.
If you want, you can even make a reset-routine. Because you might not want to do chores in order to reset. Maybe you just want to take a step back and take a break.
There isn’t one right way to do a reset, you just have to find what works for you, and what helps you getting out of a rut when you’re having a bad day.
For me that might be tackling my to-do list, for you it might be to make a coffee or tea and take it with you outside for 5 minutes.
It doesn’t matter. But I will highly recommend you to implement resets in your life, so you have a way of tackling bad days, and not have those bad days ruin the rest of your week.
If you liked this article, I hope you'll share it with someone else who might like it too, and also follow my blog.
Picture from article about Audrey Tautou on Wikipedia by Georges Biard
It’s no secret that I love watching movies. When it comes to French movies, Audrey Tautou is one of my favourite actresses. And these are my favourite Audrey Tautou movies.
I have tried making this list without too many spoilers, but there are some – so read on at your own risk.
Movie # 1. Amélie (or Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain)
Many of you may know of this movie, and it may be an obvious choice. But I think it’s a perfectly quirky and charming movie.
Audrey Tautou plays the role of the waitress Amélie Poulain, who has a very active imagination. She is also a bit mischievous, but means well with her actions.
Throughout the movie she tries to help change the lives of her neighbours and others around her for the better.
I don’t want to give away too many details if you haven’t seen the movie yourself, so I’ll just recommend to watch it.
Movie #2. Hunting and Gathering (or Ensemble, c’est tout)
I love all kinds of movies, but I may have a soft spot for romantic films. This is one of those movies I could watch over and over again.
It stars Audrey Tautou as Camille, an artist and cleaning lady, Guillaume Canet as the chef Franck, and Laurent Stocker as Philibert, a postcard salesman.
They all live in the same building and this is how they meet. Camille lives alone in an attic apartment, while Philibert is taking care of an apartment that belonged to a deceased relative. Franck is Philibert’s tenant.
When Camille gets the flu Philibert makes her move in out of concern for her health, to the dismay of Franck. Franck and Camille are a classic example of a "will they or won’t they" couple, and it’s wonderful to see the changes in the characters throughout the movie.
I couldn't resist including the scene below, which I find very sweet.
Movie #3. Beautiful lies (or De vrais mensonges)
This is a good comedy with a touch of romance. It starts with Émilie (Audrey Tatou) passing on a love letter from a co-worker to her mother. Émilie does this to give her mother a little boost after her divorce.
Which of course would be harmless, if it was not for her mother getting excited and expecting more letters.
This means Émilie turns to writing letters herself, and funny intricacies ensue as she has to navigate the entanglements this creates.
Movie #4. Coco Before Chanel (or Coco avant Chanel)
A biographical film starring Audrey Tautou as a young Coco Chanel.
The movie tells the story of how Coco Chanel worked herself up from being an orphan to becoming a successful business woman.
This is simply a great movie. In addition to being a great story, it’s wonderful to see the effort that went into the costumes.
The movie has received critical acclaim, and won the Oscar for Best Costume Design.
Movie #5. Thérèse Desqueyroux
The movie is set in south-west of France in the late 1920s. Audrey Tautou plays the role of Thérèse, the daughter of a wealthy landowner.
She agrees to an arranged marriage to Bernard Desqueyroux, another wealthy landowner. Soon, it is obvious that her new life bores Thérèse, and she needs something to release her from it.
Since I don’t want to give away too much, I recommend that you watch the film yourself to see what happens, but I can tell you that it is an interesting movie. The trailer of the movie that I've included, will certainly give you an idea.
I hope you found this article interesting. If you did, feel free to leave a comment below, and of course share it with someone else who might be interested, too.
Picture from Pinterest
We all know that French women simply nail it when it comes to fashion and beauty, and if you're like me, you would like to know all their secrets about that. But I suspect that you might be just as interested in how they manage to make their homes look so effortlessly chic and comfortable, so that's what we'll take a look at today.
To make it really simple, I'll share with you some design rules that the French live by, and Parisians in particular. Their style is just astonishing. Because they've got it down to a science: Their decorating style is one part casual and one part monarchly elegant. Voilà!
The best part is that you don't need to be rich or live in one of those beautiful old buildings on the rive gauche in Paris to achieve that same look.
But what exactly is a Parisian style?
There's really nothing flashy about it. The walls are mostly painted white or at least in a light color, and the rest of the color palette is also mostly light, but also includes a few darker colors. Examples of light colors that are used the most, are white, beige and grey, and dark colors can be black or blue, but also other colors. Many Parisian apartments also have fishbone-patterned wooden floors, and the French are not afraid of keeping both their walls and floors minimal. If there's any art on the walls at all, it might be one single piece of some size, and it's very often contemporary art.
That being said, the Parisians often decorate their walls with pictures from their travels, or use souvenirs from their travels as beautiful decor elements.
Even though you may say that there's really not ONE particular style that is a Parisian interior style, there are a few very important rules to the Parisian interior decorating style, and these are:
Rule # 1: Quality over quantity
The French generally pay high attention to detail and opt for good quality. They're not afraid to give the furniture "space to breathe", and generally go for a few items of good quality rather than overloading a room. Parisians in particular tend to follow this rule and have less furniture, but the items they do have are of the highest quality that they can afford.
Rule # 2: Don't try too hard!
French interiors are never too curated or perfect. They like to mix vintage with new, and they often bring in elements that bring good memories, and let these items shape the interior. This can for example be something they treasure from the past or something they brought home from a travel.
Rule # 3: The interior must work with your lifestyle
The French create their interior with great attention to how they live their life. It should be both practical and homely. They make sure there are nooks to relax in, space for great meals and gatherings with family and friends, good storage space for their things, - in short: Every space and every item has a function. They are well planned according to their lifestyle.
So how do they put it all together?
Well, let's focus on the Parisian style, but you can easily apply the same decor tips for a more general French look.
The Parisians make sure they include some very specific decor elements, and these are the most important ones:
Decor element # 1: Vintage Rug
Picture from my own apartment
The French like to mix new and old, and one of the things you'll definitly find in a Parisian apartment is a vintage rug. It can be one they've inherited, but most likely it's one they've bought in an artisanal flea market. France is full of brocantes where you can find vintage furniture and other decor elements at reasonable prices. If that's not an option for you, there are plenty of home decor companies that sell vintage-looking rugs nowadays, as it has become a very popular home decor element no matter what style you go for. Stick to the color scheme you have chosen for your home, or choose a color that will bring a beautiful contrast and at the same time complement the rest of the interior. Color is one way to bridge the gap between old and new in a beautiful way.
Decor element #2: Gold mirror
Picture from arhouse.com - Amelie wall mirror
Many Parisian apartments have a vintage chimney in the living room, and you'll most likely find some kind of gold mirror hanging above it. They come in many styles, of course, but the one in the picture above has a very vintage looking style that is very popular and also very elegant. The mirror in the picture at the top of this article is very different, but has that touch of monarchy elegance that the French are so good at implementing without overdoing it. I'm sure you'll be able to find a mirror that suits both your style and your wallet if you look around on the Internet or in your local home decor stores. Here are some links to online stores where you might find some more inspiration for mirrors:
Decor element #3: Chandelier
Picture from my own livingroom
The chandelier is really the magic decor element in many Parisian apartments and has long been a staple of elegance. This doesn't mean that you need to buy one of those crystal chandeliers, if that's not your style, but you can choose from a variety of styles and it might just as well be a very contemporary one. Like I said earlier: A nice mix of old and new - vintage and contemporary - is what the Parisians are so good at, and it's really not difficult at all to copy that style and at the same time make it your very own.
Why not take a look online, for example at Anthropologie, to find some more inspiration for both vintage and contemporary chandeliers. (This is not an affiliate link, so I don't get any commission if you buy anything from their website. I just include it as a service to you.)
Decor element #4: Contemporary art
Picture from Decoholic.com
Many Parisian apartments have ornate architectural features like you can see in the above picture, and the Parisians love to mix those architectural features with contemporary art. Very often, these art elements are left sort of "undone", which means they are not hung on the wall, but propped against a wall or on some piece of furniture, which gives the apartment a very casual, relaxed style which at the same time is very elegant.
When it comes to choosing artwork it's a good idea to buy something that reminds you of your travels, like different trips to Paris, Italy, Greece, or maybe the Middle East? Parisian apartments are often full of travel photography, and I'm sure you have some pictures of your own that you can easily turn into wall art for your home.
If you don't, why not check out some of my pictures that are available as prints and canvases? You'll find them over at my photo webstore at https://else-kosberg.picfair.com/
Decor element #5: Iconic Armchair
Picture from Pinterest - unknown photographer
Like I mentioned above, the French know the value of minimalism and are not afraid of empty spaces. The fact that many Parisian apartments are also very small, makes one or two armchairs a wiser choice to go for than a sofa. That's why you'll always find at least one iconic armchair in a French living-room, and in a Parisian living-room in particular. If this is something you want to adopt in your home, I'd reccommend that you go for something contemporary like a design velvet or some Danish mid-century piece, because a contemporary piece of furniture will help balance out any older and more antique-looking furniture that you might have.
Which brings us to
Decor element #6: Something antique
Picture of my very own inherited antique piece of furniture.
As I'm sure you've learned by now, the French love to mix modern furniture with some antiques, and that's why this is something you'll find in any Parisian apartment. Of course, the French have a lot of flea markets and brocantes to choose from, like Les Puces at Clignancourt (Paris), where they can find almost anything they want for their home. If that's not something you can take advantage of where you live, Etsy might also be a good place to look for some antique and vintage furniture online.
Or maybe you've been lucky enough to inherit some antique furniture that has been in your family for a long time? Then by all means: Use it! It can easily become the focal point you need in your living-room and maybe that particular piece of furniture which gives the room the extra touch of elegance. Something that has been in your family for a long time will also give your home that special connection to your roots and give it an extra homely feel, don't you think?
Another thing that will give your interior that homely feel, and which is something you'll find in any Parisian apartment, is ...
Decor element #7: Candles
Pictures: Left: Product picture from nordstrom.com and Right: picture from www.editionnoire.com
In fact, no Parisian apartment is complete without candles. Parisian women just love scented candles, and the most popular brand of all is Diptyque. According to blogger Katarina Fischer at EditionNoire the brand was founded by an interior designer (Christiane Gautrot), a painter (Desmond Knox-Leet), and a theatre director & set designer (Yves Coueslant), which (again according to Katarina) well explains the elegant product design of Diptyque’s assortment. This is probably why the elegant Parisian women love it so, and why it's become a "must have" decor element in any Parisian apartment. But they are undeniably very decorative and cozy elements that makes any space feel more "lived in", so there's no wonder they have become so loved by anyone who wants to add that cozy feel to their home.
Decor element #8: Vintage inspired vases
Picture: Product picture from www.anthropologie.com
There's some kind of vintage-inspired vase and / or bottle in almost every Frenchie's home or Parisian apartment. Often left empty, and sometimes filled with either fresh or dried flowers, like lavender or larkspur.
If you want to add this decor element in your own home, I suggest you collect an assortment of different vases (typically ceramic or glass) in a range of colors and shapes. This will give it a more collected feel and look very pretty.
Decor element #9: Coffee table books
Picture by thepotterybarn.com
The French find it very valuable if you're able to talk about various topics and have some kind of interesting things or knowledge to share. They like to keep themselves up to date on things and enjoy playing the "intellectual card", if you like. That's why you'll always find books in a Parisian apartment, on the coffee table, in book shelves, or on the bedside table. Books about fashion, home, design, food and wine are definitly something that you need to add to your coffee table if you want to keep up with the French in those areas.
I'm sure there's a lot more to be said about French interior style, and Parisian style in particular, but this was just to give you a certain idea about what the most important rules are. Let's recap before we wind it up:
Rule # 1: Quality over quantity,
Rule # 2: Don't try too hard!
Rule # 3: The interior must work with your lifestyle.
Voilà! It's really as simple as that!
I hope you found this article interesting. If you did, feel free to share it with someone else who might like it too.
And in case you missed it: You can find some nice contemporary art for your living-room over at my print-shop at https://else-kosberg.picfair.com/
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
Do you find cleaning your house a drag?
You're not alone! But we all know that a certain amount of cleaning is necessary to keep our home a healthy place, so it just needs to be done, doesn't it?
But how can you stop feeling so bad about that particular side of homekeeping? My answer is:
Do like the French!
I must confess: I have never liked scrubbing floors, toilets etc., or handling garbage. Some people quite enjoy it. I don't. I kind of like doing the dishes - that's more therapeutic and gives room for reflection, the way I see it - but the other stuff ... well, I used to find that more of a drag. That is: Until I learned how the French do it. Oh happy day! It was a revelation! It took away the stress of it for me, and I feel that it's my pleasurable duty to share it with you so you can finally be a peace with it, too. From this day forward you'll suffer from no more "cleaningfobia" (I don't even know if that's a word, but if it is, I've had it...)!
Here are the 3 simple rules I have learned from the French when it comes to keeping the house clean:
#1: The French don't look upon cleaning as another chore
The word "chore" implies that there is work to be done, right? And more work often means more stress, more obligations, and we don't want that. We want to have a good time, enjoy our house and spend our time doing the things we love.
Well, to the French, keeping a house nice for your family is to "faire le ménage", which can be translated with "make the household", and they see it as just part of the little things you do every day to keep the surroundings nice and enjoyable for all. It's included in the other little daily routines and not really a chore of its own. This mentality takes the stress out of it, I think, and here's another reason why:
Photo by Max Vakhtovych from Pexels
#2: The French keep it simple
The French usually don't have one whole day set aside for cleaning every week. Instead, they do the cleaning and tidying as they go along, like making the bed as soon as they have aired it in the morning, hanging clothes into the closet instead of letting them lie around, putting a book back on the shelf when they've finished reading it, putting the dishes in the dishwasher when they've finished a meal - you get the picture.
The French also don't have the same fixation about disinfecting all surfaces like many other Western nations do, but they like to keep things streamlined and organised. They might also sweep the floor with a broom instead of dragging the hoover out every time the floor needs a bit of cleaning up.
#3: The French don't clutter
Photo by Max Vakhtovych from Pexels
The French generally go for quality over quantity in all things, whether it's their wardrobe or their home, which means they have less things that need cleaning and dusting. A good excuse for doing some decluttering, I'd say! Besides, it's been scientifically proven that clutter is a cause for low-anxiety disorder, so there's also a medical reason for getting rid of some clutter in your home.
So if you have lots of children's toys lying around, piles of papers and books everywhere, an unmade bed, or anything else that is like an eye-sore to you in your home, I suggest that you start with assigning everything its own place and start putting them back where they belong after each time you've used them. A little bit of tidying "on the go" is so much better than having to spend hours clearing everything up once a week or so.
You might also want to consider sweeping your floors with a broom on a regular basis, rather than dragging the hoover out every time they need a bit of cleaning up. This is especially recommendable if you have wooden floors or other smooth surfaces that can easily be swept instead of hoovered or washed every time.
These habits are straightforward and easy to implement, and they'll save you time in the long run to do more fun things in your life. I suggest that you start doing this little by little and work it into your daily routines. It's far less time consuming than you'd think, and you could be on your way to a cleaner and more "chic" home in no time at all.
When you’re stressed out, the foods that you’re turning to are most likely going to be traditional ‘comfort’ foods like big meals, take-away, fatty foods, sweet foods, and alcohol. I'm sure we’ve all found some comfort in a tasty meal and a bottle of beer or glass of wine when we’ve been stressed out or upset. This isn’t a good permanent solution, though.
If you’ve been feeling more stressed out than usual lately, it’s important to know which foods are best to choose and which to avoid when it comes to combating stress and helping you to deal with feelings of stress and anxiety. The best way to fight stress is to have a healthy, balanced diet which includes a moderate amount of each of the different food groups.
To ensure that your body gets the optimum amounts of nutrients to fight both physical and mental health problems, filling up on foods such as whole grains, leafy vegetables, and lean proteins as the basic staples of the diet is the best way. When it comes to choosing the foods to eat, some have a range of great properties which help the body to combat stress. Choosing these stress-busting foods will help to heal and calm your mind permanently, rather than providing a temporary fix.
Some of the best stress-fighting foods include:
Photo by Anne from Pexels.
Avocado is a creamy and versatile fruit which can be eaten in a range of different ways whether you enjoy it raw, made into sauces, dressings and dips, or in a smoothie. This nutrient-dense fruit have the properties to stress-proof your body, thanks to its high glutathione content which specifically blocks the intestinal absorption of certain fats which cause oxidative damage. Avocados also contain higher levels of vitamin E, folate, and beta-carotene than any other fruit, which boosts their stress-busting properties. However, be careful with portion control when eating avocado, as it is high in fat.
Photo by Angele J from Pexels.
Swapping chocolate or chips for one of the best superfoods is a great way to help you deal with your stress levels and achieve a higher level of calm. Blueberries have some of the highest levels of antioxidants, especially antho-cyanin, which means that this berry has been linked to a wide range of health benefits including sharper cognition, better focus, and a clearer mind – all of which can help you to better deal with stress.
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
Of course, it’s not all about what you’re eating when it comes to managing stress; what you’re drinking can also alleviate or worsen the stress you're feeling. Drinking liquids which are high in sugars and caffeine, such as coffee, energy drinks or soda, can actually increase your stress levels if consumed regularly. Chamomile tea has long been used as a natural bedtime soother, and it has also been used in clinical trials, which determined that chamomile tea is effective in reducing the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.
Photo by Vie Studio from Pexels
Although it’s usually seen as an unhealthy treat, there is an undeniable link between chocolate and our mood. Studies have shown that eating chocolate can actually make you happier. However, that doesn’t mean that you can have a chocolate bar every time you're stressed out. Chocolate works best as a de-stressor when eaten in moderation and as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Dark chocolate in particular is best for you, as it contains more flavonols and polyphenols, which are two hugely important antioxidants that can help combat stress more than many fruit juices.
Photo by pixabay from Pexels
Grass-fed beef is not only kinder to the planet and to animals, it’s also good for people, too. Grass-fed beef has a huge range of antioxidants, including beta-carotene and Vitamins C and E, which can help your body fight stress and anxiety. If you’re looking for more reasons to spend a little more money on organic, grass-fed beef, it’s also lower in fat than grain-fed beef whilst being higher in omega-3.
Photo by Keegan Evans from Pexels
Oatmeal is great in that it can be a filling comfort food, but it also has a large number of healthy properties to actually make you feel better from the inside out. As it is a complex carbohydrate, eating oatmeal causes your brain to produce higher levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin, helping you to feel calmer and less stressed.
Photo by Yusuf Arslan from Pexels
If you’re looking for a healthy snacking option thatwill help you to stay better in control of your stress levels, walnuts are a great choice. They have a sweet, pleasant flavor, and they can be a tasty snack for in-between meals or as part of a desert. Walnuts are also great for salads, or you can include them in a sweet treat such as coffee and walnut cake.
Photo by Anton Uniqueton from Pexels
Pistachios is another food which is great for snacking on and can also help to combat stress and anxiety in the long term. Studies have found that simply eating two small, snack-size portions of pistachios per day can lower vascular constriction when you are stressed, putting less pressure on your heart by further dilating your arteries. The rhythmic, repetitive act of shelling pistachios can actually also be quite therapeutic. :)
Leafy green vegetables
Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels
Leafy, green vegetables should be an important part of any diet. Along with helping to combat stress, leafy greens are full of nutrients and antioxidants which help to fight off disease and leave your body feeling healthier and more energized.
Dark leafy greens, for example spinach, are especially good for you since they are rich in folate, which helps your body to produce more mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which is a ‘feel-good’ chemical. Making leafy greens a part of your diet will help you to feel happier and less stressed out overall.
Photo by Any Lane from Pexels
Last but not least, eating fermented foods such as yogurt can help to keep your gut healthy, which actually in turn will help to improve your mental health and reduce stress levels. The beneficial bacteria which are found in fermented foods such as yogurt, actually have a direct effect on your brain chemistry and transmit positive mood and behavior regulating signals to your brain via the vagus nerve.
Putting together your meal plan
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels
Planning your meals wisely is key to not only staying physically fit and healthy, but also to staying mentally strong and being able to best manage your levels of stress. Knowing which foods to avoid and which are the best to reach for to snack on when you’re feeling worried and anxious is important to helping you get control over your emotions and fears.
Having stress-busting snacks such as fresh berries, dark chocolate, yogurt, walnuts or pistachios, or even a fruit smoothie with avocado and leafy greens in it, can help you to feel better in both the short and long term when it comes to stress. The most important thing is to make sure that for the most part, you're eating a diet that is healthy and balanced.
To stay on track, it’s a good idea to make a meal plan for your week. Plan ahead to make sure that you have a good selection of these stress-busting foods in your kitchen, so you can make meals and snacks from them when you’re feeling like stress-eating. Making sure that the majority of your meals include foods such as lean proteins and leafy green vegetables will not only make you feel healthier overall, but can improve your mental health and stress levels, too.
A good example of a healthy, stress-busting menu could be:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with berries or a fruit smoothie with avocado and berries.
Mid-morning snack: Natural yogurt with fruit or a handful of pistachio nuts.
Lunch: A whole-grain pasta salad filled with plenty of leafy greens.
Afternoon snack: Dark chocolate.
Dinner: Grass-fed beef with vegetables.
Before bed: Chamomile tea.
This was just an exampel of a menu, to give you a good idea.
Remember to exercise good portion control when eating foods such as nuts, chocolate, yogurt or avocado! As the saying goes, you are what you eat – so make sure that first and foremost, you’re filling yourself up with foods which are good for your mental health.
I hope this article was of value to you. I'll be writing more about health and nutrion on a regular basis, so if this is something you're interested in, I hope you'll like and follow my blog. Feel free to share it with someone else who might like it, too.
I just love the film "You've got m@il", starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks!
I have lost count of how many times I've watched it over the years, and I continue to watch it on a regular basis, because it just speaks to my heart.
But this isn't going to be a film review. I just want to share a quote from that film here now, and that is what the character Kathleen Kelly says to Joe Fox when he comes to see her after she's had to close down her business, partly because he's opened a huge discount book store in the neighborhood where she had her little book-shop, "The Shop Around The Corner". Joe says to her that "it wasn't personal", upon which she replies that she is sick and tired of everyone saying that, and that she thinks that the only thing that means is that it wasn't personal to him, but it was personal to her and to a lot of people. And then she says (I quote): "And what's so wrong with being personal, anyway? Because whatever else anything is, at least it should begin with being personal."
Clip from YouTube - scenes from "You've Got M@il"
And you know what? I agree with her.
Let me give you 2 reasons why:
Reason # 1:
If you're building a business, people will buy from you if they know and trust you
For quite a few years now, I have wanted to build an online business, and I've spent a lot of time and money trying to learn what I need to do to succeed with that. Some of it has been very sound advice, and some of it hasn't. I've tried various approaches over the years, but quite a few of them have just left me frustrated and disappointed with the lack of result they have brought me.
And why haven't they brought any results?
Because they haven't been in line with who I really am.
They haven't been personal.
First, I tried to build an online business as a personal coach, even though I've never really liked the idea of being one. I do have experience as a teacher and a personal coach/career-coach, and I've been in charge of quite a few classes and courses over the years. But I've never really liked standing in front of a class, teaching. It just sounded like good advice to build on that experience when I wanted to start something online, so that's what I did. And there was a lot of advice on how to be professional and become the "go to" expert in your field.
Oh my, how I struggled with that! I just couldn't find a way to do it that really had me excited and feeling good about what I was doing. Nothing really resonated with who I am as a person. I felt like a fraud, because "professional" in the sense that I thought it meant, didn't seem like me at all.
I tried to create an online course, and after many different approaches, I did manage to create one that I was happy with and that I felt comfortable launching, but it still wasn't exactly what I wanted to do. I never really wanted to create a course in the first place. I wanted to express myself in a different way, because I've always been more of an artist than a teacher, - if you see what I mean...
So I decided I needed to find a better way, and I sat down and took some time to analyze my life and my online business (or rather: What I wanted to be an online business). What was working, and what wasn't?
When thinking about business, I asked myself what it is that I like about other people or companies that I follow online. Why do I follow them and also often buy their products?
The answer was really very easy:
I like who they are.
What they say and do resonate with me and the person I am or want to be.
And they show up as themselves. They seem honest about their successes and failures, and what they offer bring some real value to my life, the way I see it. I feel that I can trust them.
So the final conclusion to all my analyzing was that I needed to get more personal in my business approach, and that's what I've been trying to do ever since. I decided to build my online business around the things that I have experienced in my own life and that I have found to be valuable and important to me. Sharing all those things with you so you can get the life that YOU want, is something that I find very meaningful and important. And I want to express it through writing, through videos on my YouTube channels, through photographs, and maybe even in a podcast further down the line.
And I'm going to get more personal, because that's how I normally act around people. I just need to be myself. I can't pretend I'm someone else.
So to sum up Reason # 1:
If you want to build a business, whether it's online or a "brick-and-mortar" business:
- Build your brand so that it's in line with who you are and what you find
valuable and important.
- Share more of YOU so that the people you want to reach really get
who you are, get what you stand for, get what your values are.
When who you are and what you say and do resonate with other people, - when they can relate to you as a person and feel that you offer something that they find valuable, - that's how they will become your loyal followers and eventually your loyal customers.
Picture by Amina Filkins on Pexels.
Reason # 2: If you want to be happy and build good relationships with other people, you need to show up as your authentic self
If I'm to pick one important lesson that I've learned in life, it's this: You won't really get anywhere or even be happy if you build your life around what society and maybe your family might seem to expect: That you get a "proper education" and find yourself what is called "a decent job", and then keep your distance to other people, act "professionally" and never share anything personal. And depending on what culture and / or religion you grew up in, there will also be a lot of other expectations and rules that you need to live by.
When we're very young, we're completely open to what our surroundings teach us, whether it's our parents or other family members, teachers in school, a priest in our church, or whatever. We're like open vessels, and everything we see, hear and feel in our early years, is being programmed into our brains. We are strongly influenced by the environment we live in.
If you grew up in Japan, you will most likely speak Japanese and act according to the Japanese culture. If you grew up in Russia, you will probably speak Russian and act in accordance with Russian culture. And so on. If the dominant religion in your society or family is Buddhism, you will most likely be a buddhist yourself. If your family's religion is Islam, you'll probably be a muslim. If you grew up in a Christian family, you'll most likely be a Christian.
You get my point. We are all programmed from our birth by the surroundings we grow up in. This makes it very likely that we continue to act in accordance with what our immediate surroundings expect from us for many, many years, even after we have become adults and able to think for ourselves.
Most people just go on living like that, on autopilot, and never stop to think for themselves or question anything about their upbringing or the rules they have learned from their family and society. Many are quite happy with it, because they dont' know about anything else. Others may find themselves more and more frustrated and unhappy as the years go by because they start feeling that the rules they have been taught to live by are not in alignment with who they truly are.
This has been the case for me. For so many years I lived my life according to other people's rules or expectations of me - or what I thought they expected, and it made me feel very frustrated and unhappy. Don't get me wrong: I'm not trying to blame anyone. My peers only taught me what they had been taught themselves. But it took me nearly 50 years to get to the point where I managed to break free from that and start living my life in accordance with who I truly am. I had to make some changes in my family life, like getting a divorce, and I have lost contact with some relatives and friends in the wake of it. But at least now I know who I can rely on to love me for who I am and not just because I live by their ideas of what I should or should not do or be.
Showing up as yourself can be tough.
Especially if your honest self, your true self is not what the people close to you want you to be. But dear friend, I'm telling you: You are the only one who can live your life, and if the people close to you can not accept you for who you are, then you're actually better off without them.
I'm no saying that you need to shut some people completely out of your life. That might not even be possible. But if some people make you unhappy and have a negative influence on you or are "telling you off" or trying to make you live a life that is not in alignment with who you are, then at least try to keep your distance to those people and don't necessarily tell them everything you do or think. Just start living your life! And when you meet new people, be yourself from the very first minute. Get personal! Show them who you are. That doesn't mean that you should pour your heart out or tell them your inner thoughts and feelings right away, because that's something you shouldn't do to everybody anyways. That takes a closer relationship built on mutual trust, and will probably take some time. But show up as YOU, and don't try to be someone you're not.
Because people want to know YOU. The reason you connect with someone is probably because you saw something in each other that you instantly liked and felt attracted to. We all have that intuitive feeling when we meet someone. In just a few seconds we have made up our mind whether we like that person or not. That's why you don't want to make a bad first impression. The first impression is so important.
If you feel uncertain and don't know how you should act to make that first impression a good one and in accordance with your inner personality, that is something you can learn. Body language is the first thing we all react to, and a smile can be all it takes. But awareness is key. When you're aware of how you want people to see you, and learn how you can make that come through in your personality, you will feel more relaxed and natural after a little bit of practice. So start thinking about who you are and how you can start showing that.
Because starting to show up as the real you after having tried to act in a certain way for many, many years, - well, it takes a little practice. But you can do it! And when you show up as your true self, you can be sure that the people who connect with you and show you that they want to have you in their life, are the ones who like you for who you truly are. That's the kind of relationships that will make you happy and bring you success on all levels in your life.
And remember: It's just as important to allow other people to be their true selfs, too. Don't try to change them, but show them that you like them just the way they are (if you do!). If someone's personality is completely off in your book, you don't need to keep them in your life.
So to sum up Reason # 2:
If you want to build good and healthy relationships with people in your life, whether in business or on a personal level, you must get personal. Be yourself. Show what your values are. Be true to yourself and don't let others manipulate you into doing or being something you're not.
Picture by Elle Hughes on Pexels
I hope you liked this article. If so, I hope you'll follow my blog and maybe share the article with someone else who might like it, too.